Before and After

Why read Leviticus?

What does it all have to do with me in 2012?

I am reading through the Bible using the S.O.A.P. method and the suggested daily readings provided by the Life Journal. I love it!

I was reading Leviticus 7-9 just the other day with difficulty. My inclination was to skim through the text. It all seemed repetitious and inapplicable.

“Didn’t Jesus become the ultimate sacrifice atoning me for my sin, cleansing me with His blood? Don’t the revelations in the New Testament and the gifts of grace and mercy take precedence over the teachings and laws of the Old Testament?”

“If so, why is the book of Leviticus and its exhaustive, weighty laws in the Bible? Why is it important for Christians in 2012 to know, to read and to ultimately understand Leviticus?”

 My prayer at the time was:

 “LORD, please give me your eyes. Holy Spirit fill me and allow me to read this text seeing what you want me to see. Show me, LORD, what you want me to learn about you in the book of Leviticus. Thank you, Father. AMEN”

Later that day, I spoke with my dad – a retired pastor and missionary. He is my go-to source for everything scripture-related.  He said something in our conversation that caused in me an “ah-ha” moment.

“Jana, we read Leviticus and acknowledge it because it is a part of our story, it is not just a story for the Isrealites. It is a part of our shared spiritual history – our shared God-history.”

You know what? He’s right. It’s just like what I have been trying to communicate here at jana’s three dresses. We all have a story. It makes up who we are. We can try to run from it, but it’s sure to follow us. Our stories are a gift from God. He created them.

In the book of Leviticus, God gives instructions to the Israelites for performing all of the specific sacrificial offerings.

I reflect on these passages and wonder,

“What would be necessary in a person’s life to follow the Levitical Law correctly? It seems that it would take lots of time, effort, money, and maybe even cost a life or two to acquire the correct offerings. Not to mention the time it would take to slaughter the animal and follow all of the instructions at the time of the sacrifice itself.” {I’m exhausted just reading about it.}

Imagine all of the tools needed, the extra stuff needed in a household to follow these laws. I am sure each household had certain customs and traditions passed along from one generation to the next. These rituals and practices were a part of their identity.

 “But, what does this have to do with me, now, in 2012?”

Well, I have an advantage in that I know the rest of the story. Jesus came to free the Israelites. you. me. From all of life’s burdens, laws, rules.

As it says in Matthew 11:28-29,

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

When Jesus arrives on the scene, He tells them that they didn’t need the tools or traditions anymore! They could purge all of this out of their homes. Generation upon generation of habits, traditions, and customs were no longer necessary.

This was a radical idea! No wonder so many Israelites had trouble believing He was the Messiah. He was asking them to let go of what they believed identified them as followers of God.

Do you see the Before and After in the Isrealites’ story? Before Jesus – Levitical Law; With Jesus – freedom from the Law.

Jesus is saying the same thing to you and me. Let go of all of your rules, traditions, customs and habits that are cluttering your life in Christ. Lay them at my feet and you will find rest in me. You don’t need all of that stuff to make your life full and righteous.

Let go of the limits you have allowed your past to create in you. Let go.

Yet we argue with Jesus. We hold on. We can’t believe we will find freedom by letting go.

In the New Testament, you can read about many followers who argued with Jesus about letting go of the Levitical Laws.

I am no different. You are no different.

The Messiah, Jesus Christ, He came and began preaching the Good News.  He was setting the Israelites free. Imagine how that lifted burden must have felt to those who accepted His offering, His Yoke!

{Allow yourself to feel the weight of your earthly burdens lifting off of your shoulders.}

Jesus is saying, “You just need me. You just need to accept my Offering.”

Followers of Christ were now really free! What a change! It was and is revolutionary!

Christ longs for us to be free from our burdens, too. He longs for us to also tell a story of Before and After Jesus. Then, we can compare our Before and After and see Him in a Radically New Way. Others will also see Him anew.

Know your story.

Share your story.

Look at the good, the bad, and the ugly. 

In it, you and others will see the evidence for Christ.

____________________________________________________

 

When I compare the story of my past with the story of my present, I am in awe at the radical shift and in awe at the person I am now. Nothing else can explain it but the love of Christ in my life – I accepted His Offering. His Love.

I am everyday dumbstruck by the miraculous healing from grief and loss that has taken place within me. Without acknowledging, understanding, and sharing my story, I would not fully appreciate the sacrifice Jesus made for me on the cross. Now I can live fully in His Light.

Thanks be to God! To Him be the glory!  AMEN

newly purposed,

jana

 

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6 thoughts on “Before and After

  1. I agree that Leviticus is very hard to read! Our sermon this morning in church actually tied back a lot of the rituals from Leviticus and paralleled them with how Jesus lived them and ultimately became our sacrifice. It was really cool to see! Without Leviticus, we would miss out on so much symbolic meaning that really helps us understand what Christ has freed us from! Thanks for sharing:)

    • Thanks, Rebecca. Yeah, sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees. Especially in a book as complicated as Leviticus. Glad you found it helpful. I am in awe over how all of the books of the Bible point to Christ. It is such a beautiful thing!

  2. One thing I love about Leviticus is that it shows how significant all the “little things” are to God. He cares about the details. Also, He cares about how we worship Him: it is to be on HIS terms, not on ours. Also, what you mentioned, about the before & after of the redemption story. Doesn’t it make you so thankful to be on *this* side of things?

    • Yes, Elizabeth. It does make me thankful to be on “this” side of things. But, I will always remember that it took me being in the darkness to finally accept and see the Light. I also was thinking the same things about the details and His terms. I agree with you. Thanks, Elizabeth

I would love to hear from you!